The Trinamul Congress on Sunday held the Congress responsible for the BJP’s sweep in the Assembly polls in the Hindi heartland, voiced confidence in the possibility of ousting the saffron regime from the Centre in 2024 and demanded the consolidation of the INDIA bloc under the guidance of seniors such as Mamata Banerjee without further ado.
Trinamul chief Mamata and national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee didn’t comment on the results. However, Trinamul state general secretary Kunal Ghosh, who is known for his proximity to Abhishek, said the results of the Assembly elections were not the BJP or the Prime Minister’s success but the Congress’s failure.
“The Congress lost in Rajasthan, where the electorate has a revolving-door policy of changing governments every five years. The Congress was not in power in Madhya Pradesh, and failed to win there. The Congress lost power in Chhattisgarh. The Congress won in Telangana,” he said.
“In December 2018, the Congress had won those three states, but the BJP had not been defeated in the general election that followed not long after,” added Ghosh.
“This time too, these Assembly election results are not necessarily decisive in terms of the Lok Sabha.”
Ghosh said the Congress would do well to allow senior (regional) players like the Trinamul chief to come forward.
“The Congress missed a trick by not getting Mamata — a foremost face in the nation in the fight against the BJP — and others in its campaign for these states. Now, mistakes must be quickly rectified. There is still enough time and opportunity…. They must start heeding her advice,” said Ghosh.
“Mamata and Trinamul have to lead INDIA in this fight.”
Sources in Trinamul said the party was not entirely displeased with the outcome of the polls in the three states as they would ensure the Congress’s restraint in the INDIA space. Mamata and other regional leaders will have space to push further for the so-called 1:1 formula — having only one INDIA candidate with the highest winnability in as many of the 543 Lok Sabha seats as possible.
“We don’t deny the reality of the Congress’s need to win 120-plus of the 180-odd seats across the country where it is in a direct fight with the BJP. But in the remaining 360-plus, other INDIA constituents must be allowed to shine,” said a Trinamul MP.
“Even in Bengal, instead of the Congress demanding six or eight Lok Sabha seats in north Bengal, Murshidabad and Purulia, it should now restrict its demands to two and help us win as many of the remaining 42 as possible. This will seriously lower the BJP’s chances in many seats,” he added.
A senior in Trinamul said INDIA’s victory possibilities were still far from being a pipedream.
“In seven states alone (Bengal, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana and Punjab), INDIA is looking at victories in more than 170 seats. It needs a hundred more from 21 other states, just about five per state,” he said.
The Congress’s state leadership responded with scorn.
“There is a saying in Bengali, which translates to: declaring oneself the village elder, despite no recognition from the villagers,” said the Congress’s chief spokesperson in Bengal, Soumya Aich Roy, advising Trinamul to work on mitigating the crises pertaining to the allegations of rampant corruption against the state government.
Trinamul reacted strongly to the Prime Minister’s victory speech, in which Modi said Opposition leaders should not come in between central funds sent to states for common people.
Trinamul said Modi had contradicted himself because he was still on “revenge” mode when it came to Bengal.
“Bengal is the only state for which the Centre withheld funds after getting a drubbing in the 2021 Assembly polls. Lakhs of poor people here are still suffering because of the Prime Minister and his government’s step-motherly attitude towards Bengal.
That highlights zamindari culture,” the party said in a statement.